Why a translation is hard to judge
Recently a client–a native speaker of Japanese–complained about a translation. She pointed out several phrases and vocabulary choices, as well as a spelling error. The spelling error was truly an error, and there is no defense for that, but upon closer inspection of the other problems, the phrases and vocabulary she objected to seemed perfectly fine given the context. The reason the client was complaining was that these phrases were not part of her personal lexicon, and so she could not relate to them, hence, they must be wrong.
This is what makes translation so hard to judge. To be able to judge a translation, one must have a high level of understanding of both languages and the cultures that they come from. This Wikipedia article talks about language and culture being two parts of the same thing.
So, though it may not be possible to perfectly judge a translation, translations do have to be judged, and so they are, to the best of our (and our client’s) ability. It is an imperfect and sometimes frustrating process, but it is an unavoidable part of the translation business.
I will talk with the client, defend the defensible and take responsibility for the indefensible.